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John Boehner Won't Tell NRCC To Stop Fundraising Off Benghazi Investigation

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WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to weigh in Thursday on whether Republicans should fundraise off an investigation into the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.

During his weekly press conference, Boehner was asked three times about fundraising emails sent by the National Republican Congressional Committee that sought to capitalize on this week's announcement of a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks.

"Our focus is on getting the answers to those families who lost their loved ones. Period," Boehner said.

Boehner was pressed again on why the NRCC, the committee charged with helping to elect Republicans to the House, is using the issue as a fundraising opportunity.

"Our focus is getting the truth for these four families and the American people," Boehner said, only to repeat the line moments later when another reporter raised the same question.

Yet Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Republican lawmaker from South Carolina who will lead the investigation, urged his colleagues on Wednesday not to fundraise off of Benghazi.

"I have never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans," Gowdy said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "Even in a culture of hyper-partisanship, [there are] certain things that ought to be above politics, like the murder of our four fellow Americans, and whether or not you can trust what any administration -- Republican or Democrat -- tells you in the aftermath of a tragedy."

He later addressed the NRCC specifically during an interview on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"I cannot and will not raise money on Benghazi," Gowdy said. "I also advise my colleagues to follow suit."

But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) offered an indirect response on Wednesday similar to Boehner's when asked if he agreed with Gowdy that the NRCC should stop fundraising off Benghazi.

The NRCC has thus far refused to back down from fundraising campaigns related to Benghazi. Andrea Bozek, the group's communications director, said the Obama administration had been dishonest with the American people about the attacks, which occurred on an American diplomatic mission.

"Our goal is to hold Democrats in Congress accountable who vote against creating the select committee on Benghazi and who continue to try to sweep this controversy under the rug," Bozek said.

The NRCC isn't the only one seizing on Benghazi for the purpose of fundraising.

Arizona's House Speaker Andy Tobin, a Republican who is challenging Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), also distributed a fundraising email related to the select committee. And a tea party group called the Patriots for Economic Freedom used the image of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in an email tied to the Benghazi investigation that asks for donations.

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